Habib Faye

My condolences to my friends and brother in the Band, our Club house at TAIF, the restaurant Operated by Jazz artist Trumpet player Jules Gueye to include Idrissa Diop, Jules Geuye, Pape ET Cheik, Koundoul, Aziz Dieng, and others also Baba Hamdy, the Alternative Music Artists of Senegal, Jean Philip Senghore, Awadi, Carlo D, and others. To Baba Maal, Thione Seck, Youssou Ndour and Omar Pen n & Super Jamano Band and to all artists and musician in the African Music Business.

A True Son of Africa Dem Na Nonou. Remembering 

Habib was an Artist, in the true sense of the World. His charm to his bass Guitar is bedded in his multi discipline and an indebt responsibility of the imaginary sound called Mbalax Music. When the band started they did NOT know they were playing.

The early Song by Star Band called Ndaaga set the trail for the Art of wolof in pop music. It is that wolof singing accent that created the Ndaga Sound ingredient in the formation of Mbalax. In the period before Habib Faye in Mbalax music, Ndaga music was transforming with Super Djamano introducing Keyboards in Senegalese’s Music.

The Creation of Habib Faye

The Heartbeat of Mbalax Beat and Ndaga Beat are different. Mbalax is from the Dakar Wolof beat of Yaba and Gardjo Beats while in Ndaga Beat it is mainly Sine regional myusic. Super Djamano was formed in Kaolack( Omar Pene joined much later) and that is why they sound different but had equal number of Fans but in the Foreign countries the beat from Dakar is more acclaimed because it has a flavor of refined Wolof and a sprinkle of Salsa.

The Dakar Mbalax sound like a moving train in pulse and breath while the Sine Sound of Ndaga is predominantly from the tribe of Serer and played in the Beat called The Nduke, a sacred ritual beat for evoking spirits. It is slower and played in a hop like arrangement unlike a moving train sound of Mbalax..

Habib as a curious musician had an Eye for Keyboards and Guitar. He played well with Jimi Mbaye in Guitar duos to form The Music machine behind Youssou Ndours voice, to conquer the world. I am sure that Youssou Ndour will cry the whole day and it’s worth it.

Habib Faye modernized the Youssou Ndour sound and person. Due to the Keyboard facility his vision of Music changed as he was listening to Keyboardists Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul as a Bass player adding these sound in the building blocks of Youssou Ndours presentation of Senegal.

Jimi Mbaye, Guitarist, was thinking of authenticity in music and originality for Senegalese after abandoning Salsa and foreign Guitar imitation, he was trying never to play a music accent with foreign tone and flair, he played the Xalam a Wolof like Banjul and transformed his Guitar to a Jimi Hendrix effect support based sound but yet crafted into local Xalam sound like for example in the song Brima whereby the syncopation and to fat tone of the Guitar bass string on Guitar replication a Bolom Xalam sound reflection the Vision of Habib Faye’s Multi Vision aspiration to Make Senegalese Music competitive in the Round table of original music cultures of Africa.

The Boys of Super Etole (the period of the word Super in Senegal) and the Boys of Super Jamano loved and followed Ifang Bondi who made fame as Super Eagles the astonishing Black Africsans playing Imperial Pop music of the Colonial Masterly. This was Big News. Ifangbondi established a Music Faithfull Followers in the Creative Arts through Music and influencing painters, poets, lecturers and Philosophers in Senegal like President Senghore, Djibri Diop Mambetty, Ousman Sembene, Joe Wakam, Claude Dieng, Cheik Batchally, Dodou Doureke, Francis Senghore, Abdoulaye Soumareh, Cheik Anta Diop and others. Ifangbondi went far and took Senegal and the Gambia to the WORLD.

It was Super Jamanio Band who introduced the Music of Ifangbondi in Senegal. They may come from Sine Region but they were the First with the Inclusion of Bailo Diange a Gambian in the Band. The OIriginal members were Bye Diange, Lapa Diange, Bas Diange. They both got their first music instruments here in Banjul, supplied by Ousou Njie.

Founders and teachers of the Senegambia Music STYLE were the First Music Band to appear on Senegalese Television. They opened RTS and also Tele Variety with Marget and promoter Oko Drammeh was the first guest speaker and the topic was music It was Ifangbondi who played live music on TV and on the First T V program with Marget Wade.

The New Generation of Music who came out in this era were playing Authentic African Music and going back to the Roots, this was how Habib Faye Statrted playing the Manding Bass instyrument called the BOLOM. He played the Bolom Batsa and Jimi Mbaye played the Xalam and Youssou Ndour on Vocals. They never thought of any one else. They brought in Alla Seck 0on Tama and then later Young Mbaye Geuye Faye. Here we are the original Etoile Band is gone due to the Desire to plan only African Music and not Salsa commonly known as Salsa. They changed their clothes to African clothes and have a traditional show which they always perform in the middle of the concert. No guitar, no bass, no keyboards but only Voices, Bolom, Xalam and Percussion. This was when I thought it was special and different from everything, revolution and Pan African, then I took the Band to Holland. After this the rest was history.

Habib saw the band filling halls across Europe and America bujt yet being local and unable to expand lioke other top bands representing in Europe, loike Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Franco, Fela and Osibisa. They hsad their eyes on this platform and this required study. They went on to take music lessons both Jimi Mbaye and Habib are musicologists. They separated Youssou Ndour from the rest after they started to attract big crowds with their brand of Afro Beat.

Most of the Youssou Ndous songs are Afro Beat rhythms. Mbaye Guye Faye’s drumming in not mostly in the arrangements. It is like Salad Dressing. It’s the Marketable element and the fan based of the band. Habib and Jimi had to meet other African and World Music Guitar Players, Bass Guitar legend, Trap Drummers (they had Moctarr Samb), a Great drummer, Big time. But they had to compete with icons like Jerry Malekani, Francis Mbape, Michelle Alibo, Richard Bona, Vincent Nguine, Wasis Brice, Valerie Lobe, Maika Mouna, Armand Sabal Lecco, Eteine Mbappe, Halere Penda, Willy Nfor, Ysev Njok, Doumbe Doumbe of Mbamina, etc.
When Habib became complete artists, he started to coin hit after hit for Youssou Ndour. They thought that they were the best band in the World as youths and Youssou Ndour had the imagination that he could be better than Michael Jackson. All full of confidence because they were original and felt very special in their practice and Quality. Only recently they all knew that business is not talent but nationality, currency, energy, investment, protection of composition, trading artists, festivals and much more. They decided to Settle for Senegal. This is how Mbaye Geuye Find his success. Mbaye Gueye stated to appeal to ceremony music in the band and brought music to the feet of the people more so that to the ears.

This was the minimization and brought the break up. The music was comprised to a point that the drummers could lead the music without ample musical input coordination in a futuristic manner than mere making dancing and concerts and collecting money. And composers were reduced to the background and popular views replaced philosophical and authentic innovation and serenity thoughts. The music was weak and easy to imitate, easy to copy and a good musician was not necessary anymore.
You don’t have to be an artist to play Mballax. This was the curse of The Senegalese Music industry, after leaving the Pop music mindset administrative rules and professional reorganization based on knowledge. But music in Senegal took a nose dive by embracing griots and fusing Griot singers with knowledge and consideration of music education, rules, scales, chords, transposing, color, body, solos and copyright infringement.
Habib Faye can be summed by his Masterpiece Album H2Q WORKS.

The Album featured all tribes of Western Sahara and Senegal and musical instrument of the Region, from Fulani Flutes, Jola tribe Akonting, Manding Djembe Drum patterns in Jambo and on track number Eleven with the Voice of Voices Mr. Idrissa Diop featuring Manu Dibango, Afro Beat Guitarist Kiala of Fela Kuti, Tony Allren, Ray Lema, Julai Sarr, Moctarr Samb ( Drums), Miriam Betty ( One of the greatest Backing vocalist with over 100 accompaniments to her belt) and many others.


Habib has put the seal of the Greatest Songs of Youssou Ndour that will never Die, Brima, Madine, Seven Seconds and shaking the tree. He was the lurch of Youssou Ndours vision of music.
REST IN PEACE GENERAL. May Lord Have mercy on Habib Faye, the musician who lived righteously and professionally.  Sleep On Habib.
Oko Drammeh

AMF/ Soto Koto Music Producer / Promoter